On their unique path to personal and artistic euphoria, The McClymonts spend half their time in the mayhem of their hectic family lives – and the other half in the madness of a relentless touring schedule. Somewhere in between, they also carved out the space to breathe life into their first studio album in over 3 years, (and their 6th overall).
According to all three artists: “The more chaotic our personal lives have become – the more we have had to trust each other creatively and make every moment in the song writing and recording process count”.
On MAYHEM TO MADNESS, the talented siblings have propelled their musical and vocal expression into unchartered territory– while staying true to the soul of what makes them such a distinctive and enduring force in modern country music.
Wonder-producer Andy Mak is back on board- (having produced the previous “Endless”) – and brings his lush, contemporary sensibilities to the album’s wide-ranging musical attitudes: from infectious country pop – to heart-tugging balladry.
Brooke McClymont’s lead vocals also switch masterfully between the genres: delivering optimistic grit on future classics like I GOT THIS and OPEN HEART; and a raspy fragility on more gentle tracks like LOOKING FOR PERFECT.
She admits the recording process was the most challenging of her career: “I was at different stages of pregnancy in the studio and didn’t realise how it would impact my body and my breathing. I had to be really patient to get the results I demand from myself”.
Perhaps one of the more delicate but striking moments on the album comes courtesy of the deeply melodic, atmospheric FREE FALL: the lead vocals floating hypnotically between those utterly other-worldly harmonies…
It’s simply genetic good fortune that middle sister Sam McClymont always had a vocal register suited to singing below her big sister Brooke’s melody line; while third sister Mollie could naturally sing higher. After years of hard work and dedicated practise, The McClymont’s breath taking harmonisations are what most connects audiences to them.
But that didn’t stop producer Andy Mak advocating for a different approach.
“Andy really pushes us NOT to sing the harmonies that are most natural and obvious to us”, reveals Sam. “He’ll pick out a completely different note within the scale and want us to try that”!
While it may have required some significant “retraining of the brain” during studio sessions, Mollie McClymont agrees their reimagined approach to harmonies has given the album an elevated sense of texture: “We also take that into our live performances which keeps it more interesting for our audiences”.
Big sister Brooke does not underestimate what the magic of those harmonies brings to her lead vocals. “Even now, I will be on stage singing and as soon as their voices come in I get goose bumps – especially on the more ‘country’ sounding songs”.
Surely the purest country moment on the new album is the ominously titled – WISH YOU HELL. From Dolly’s “Joelene” to Hank’s “Your Cheatin Heart”, country music has always been the ultimate refuge for the broken-hearted and betrayed; and The McClymonts add a truly worthy addition to that legacy with this emotionally powerful ballad.
“Was it hard walking out the door? Was I not worth fighting for?
Did we mean nothing at all”?
Brooke McClymont wrote the song after watching a close friend cope with the sudden dissolution of an 18-year marriage. Her wounded vocals seize the heart break and deception as if it’s her own –ably supported by Michel Rose’s gently weeping pedal steel guitar.
“My darling friend never once showed any bitterness despite being left for another woman. I wanted to celebrate her grace and pain in the song – but I also couldn’t resist taking a bit of revenge with the title”!
Thankfully, The McClymont sisters have not had to endure anything quite so heart wrenching in their own lives. Not that having 6 children collectively in just as many years has been a breeze. They are the first to admit that their marriages– and indeed their relationships with each other – come under the same pressures at everyone else’s. Infact one of the most rollicking, contagious songs on the album – PART TIME PHASE – was written to capture that very sentiment.
Brooke McClymont explains: It’s really about what it takes to be in loving relationships that stand the test of time. You have to never want to see each other again for as long as you live – but then get over it in an hour”!
The song also contains one of the most playfully truthful lyrics in country music:
“It’s only a part time, over-me-kinda, want-me-out-of-your-life-phase”!
You can already hear The McClymonts devoted fans screaming the line back to them at sold out gigs around the country.
Sam McClymont, also the group’s rhythm section, sums it up best: “At the end of the day – we make music so we can play it live for an audience”.
Here’s hoping the chaos and uncertainty currently stalking the global consciousness will dissipate as fast as it ascended. The sooner The McClymonts get back to their version of Mayhem to Madness – the better off we’ll all be.